Fandi Ahmad’s men are back for another tilt at the Malaysia Super League (MSL) title, but can they recover from last year’s disappointing campaign? FFT's Zee Ko, Kenneth Tan and Gary Koh profile all 27 players on the roster this season!
LIONSXII FACT FILE
Home Ground: Jalan Besar Stadium (Capacity: 8,000)
Head Coach: Fandi Ahmad
Honours: Malaysia Super League Champions (2013)
2014 Placing: 8th
There are eight new faces in this year’s LionsXII squad, with Young Lions hotshot Sahil Suhaimi and former reality star Christopher van Huizen intriguing additions to Fandi’s team. Tampines midfielder Shahdan Sulaiman would shared top billing, but for his unfortunate leg break during Singapore’s ill-fated Suzuki Cup campaign in November.
Nevertheless, 2015 represents a clean slate for the LionsXII, with the team keen to banish last year’s demons as their title defence fell to pieces before it even got off the ground.
The 27 players were unveiled in a press conference at Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, with head coach Fandi saying confidently: "I can see the desire and hunger in them, the youngsters have the fire, we are ready."
Who are they?
Formed in 2012, the LionsXII are Singapore’s sole representatives across the Causeway after 18 years away. The 1994 Dream Team is still talked about in hushed tones these days, and why not? Those were heady days when Singaporean heroes like Steven Tan, Lee Man Hon and golden boy Fandi captured the public’s imagination with their amazing Double feat.
V. Sundramoorthy’s unlikely MSL triumph in 2013, in only the team’s season back, recaptured some of that former glory but the Malaysia Cup still remained out of reach.
2014 saw the popular Fandi appointed as head coach, but the team never really got going as they almost got dragged into a relegation dogfight. Losing linchpins Baihakki Khaizan, Shahril Ishak and Hariss Harun to Johor didn’t help of course, as did injuries to key players early on.